Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (359)

Pat Casey


359. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the most recent proposals put forward at the EU Agriculture Council on the need to ensure there is no reduction in funding for CAP post 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40915/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The European Commission has proposed, as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027, that funding for the Common Agricultural Policy should be set at €365 billion. This equates to a cut of approximately 5% to the CAP budget in the next MFF period 2021 - 2027. I have previously stated that the proposed cut is unacceptable for Ireland.

Negotiations on the MFF proposals have commenced and are running in parallel to the CAP post-2020 negotiations. The MFF is a critical matter for all Member States and its agreement requires unanimity at the EU Council. It is clear that there are divergent views among Member States on the appropriate level for the budget. While some Member States (including Ireland) have indicated their willingness to increase their contributions once they contribute towards areas of added European value, there are others who feel equally strongly that the current proposals, such as they are, are too costly.

Brexit further compounds the budgetary issue, with some €12 billion per annum in UK net contributions being removed from the budget post-2020.

I continue to work at building consensus among my agriculture colleagues in Europe with regard to maintaining the CAP budget. In May last year, I co-signed a Joint Memorandum in Madrid, which calls for the CAP budget to be retained at current levels for the EU 27 post-2020. The memorandum has been supported by up to 20 other EU Agriculture Ministers. We will continue to work together on this issue as the negotiations for the CAP post-2020 and its budgetary allocations progress.

At the Council of Agriculture Ministers, I have consistently called for an adequate CAP budget to meet the increasing demands being placed on farmers in the context of the post-2020 CAP proposals, for example, in achieving greater climate ambition. Indeed, I made this point most recently at the last Informal Council meeting in Helsinki on 24 September 2019.

Ireland will continue to work closely with its EU colleagues to build a consensus around the need to fight for a strong CAP budget as the negotiations progress.